Belize is heaven for nature-lovers, with the world’s second largest barrier reef begging to be snorkeled, and rainforests teeming with howler monkeys and jaguars. These hotels in its capital, Belmopan – bookable with Culture Trip – are the perfect gateway to an adventure holiday in Central America.
Small but mighty Belmopan might be a young capital city, but it’s perfectly tailored to show you the best of what Belize has to offer. Rainforest, caves, and Mayan ruins are right on its doorstep, and the beach and cayes (islands) are only a few hours away down the famous Hummingbird Highway. These places to stay in and around Belmopan are geared up for adventure-seekers, and there’s plenty to tempt you away from the pool. Pick from a long list of excursions and on-site activities, before returning to Belizean cuisine and an ice-cold bottle of local Belikin beer.
Kiki Witz is a small, cheerful resort just outside the centre of Belmopan, where you can borrow a canoe and drift down Mount Pleasant Creek – or wander round town on market day to get a taste of the local life and culture. The Hibiscus Bungalow is the resort’s premier choice for pampering couples or small families, and anyone looking to connect with nature should book one of the glamping cabins out back. Local beauty spots, outdoor activities, and Mayan ruins are all available nearby – everything you need for a fantastic Belize holiday.
Nestled up close to downtown Belmopan, off the Hummingbird Highway, the Inn at Twin Palms is a family-run hotel with 12 serene rooms conveniently placed for business travelers and tourists. The friendly hosts here serve a popular tropical breakfast each morning to set you up for a day spent cave tubing or at the Belize Zoo. Looking for somewhere quirky to elope to? They also have a quaint onsite chapel for weddings.
Wild parrots and toucans might join you for breakfast at this adults-only guesthouse, which also houses the Belize Bird Rescue in its rustic accommodation. Outside town, in the Cayo District, this resort offers six rooms and a two-bedroom cottage in its 50 acres (20ha) of private nature reserve. In between walks and river tubing, take a tour of the rehabilitation facility where you can make some feathered friends and learn about the organisation’s conservation work. Afterwards, enjoy a drink on the bird-watching veranda and spot some of the 140 species that regularly fly by.
Founded by a couple who were looking for an adventure and ended up developing a resort, Belize Jungle Dome is made for thrill-seekers, with a daredevil package and itinerary to suit everyone. The five-night Extreme Jungle package takes you kayaking, abseiling, zip lining and tubing through nearby caves and jungle, before sitting down to dinner courtesy of Mayan cooks. The rooms and suites are a colorful and comfortable place to lay your weary head.
Looking to improve your swing? Roaring River Golf and Accommodations is the place to go, as the only mainland golf course in Belize. The 18-hole executive course may not present you with an overly challenging round, but with resident crocs in the water holes it might be a lively one. Each of the chalet rooms has its own kitchenette and workstation for days off the course, and attractions like the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave are close by and waiting to be explored.
Banana Bank Lodge promises to show you Belize from horseback, offering trails through the jungle and horsemanship camps and clinics. Try a thrilling night ride under the stars, hacking along the jungle floor while howler monkeys scamper and roar above you. Back at the lodge, learn about ancient Mayan history at the onsite museum and meet Tikatoo, the resident rescue jaguar.
This eco-lodge is tailor-made for unwinding: Jaguar Creek’s 12 cabanas sit within 700 acres (280ha) of isolated, protected rainforest near Belmopan. The secluded Private Farmhouse Cabana is perfect for families, next to the coffee and cacao plantations. Take advantage of the range of excursions on offer, including hopping across the border into Guatemala to visit the ancient Mayan city of Tikal or a beachy day trip to Placencia, complete with BBQ lunch.
All 30 rooms and suites at Dream Valley feature a floor-to-ceiling wooden finish and panoramic views of either the Belize River or rainforest savanna. A photogenic setting like this might not encourage you to leave, but it’s worth borrowing a bike and cycling round the area. Or why not book yourself in for a day of waterfall rappelling? Make sure you’re back by sunset, as the restaurant offers a particularly glorious vista that you won’t be able to resist taking another photo of.
Choose the Mountain View Penthouse suite at Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge and enjoy your own private plunge pool and views over the mountains. Designed to help guests connect with nature, there are no TVs in any of the rooms – but with a spa, cocktail bar, and several hiking trails, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. The Grove House restaurant serves authentic Central American cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients – don’t miss pupusa night every Thursday, when the thick traditional flatbreads are griddled to perfection.